Chicago, IL -
This weekend the six blocks of Halsted between Addison and Belmont will be home to the Midwest's largest two day street festival. For the 34th year Northalsted Market Days is taking over a half-mile stretch of the already colorful and crazy Boystown and turning it into the most highly-anticipated event of gay Chicago's year.From 11 a.m. to 10 pm. on Saturday, Aug. 8 and Sunday, Aug. 9, upwards of 300,000 will descend on Market Days to browse the unique vendors, eat, drink and dance to a variety of entertainment playing on four stages throughout the day. The bars and restaurants of Boystown will have their doors and windows thrown wide open for the biggest, best and most fabulous block party of them all -- not to mention some drool-worthy crowd watching courtesy of the festival meat parade.FESTIVALMarket Days is known for attracting some of the best talent to its stages, with past performers including Jennifer Holiday, Gloria Gaynor and Olivia Newton-John, who are in good company. This year's talent will have festival-goers dancing, grinding and pushing it real good all weekend long.The fierce and fabulous ladies of the 90s are coming to Chicago, beginning with R&B legends En Vogue, performing on the Addison Stage Saturday night at 8:30. Ranked by Billboard as the 8th most successful artist/group of the 90s, En Vogue's hit tracks like "Free Your MInd" and "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It) remain favorites in the hearts of gay boys everywhere.Sunday at 5 p.m., the iconic girl rap group Salt-N-Pepa is taking to the Addison Stage, where crowd will be ready to sing along and show off their best dance moves. There's really no better way to describe the dynamic trio than to list their hits and watch as you start singing along and dancing at your computer desk to "Shoop," "Push It," and "Let's Talk About Sex" (and I'll be waiting to vamp to "Body Beautiful" and pretend I'm in the opening credits of "Wong Foo").These ladies are joined by some fantastic talent all weekend long. Aaron Carter is back, Sunday at 1 on the Addison Stage, for his third time performing his pop hits in Boystown. The late 90s pre-teen sensation is joined by the 18-year-old millennial duo Jack & Jack, social media sensations with 14 million followers and a host of videos, songs and more (including pictures -- yes guys, they're adorable) you can check out. You can read more about the lifelong best friends from Nebraska and their pop-rap hybrid music in an interview with ChicagoPride.com.You can also check out American Idol contestant David Hernandez and festival favorites like 16 Candles and Abba Salute among other awesome performers including Whiskey and Cherries and The Gay 90's on the Jazz Stage on Aldine.AROUND TOWNThe influx of gays and lesbians from across the nation also means the city will be alive with a host of fabulous parties where festival goers can shake it after Market Days closes down for the night. Kicking off Friday night is the latest in Neverland's series of high-concept theme parties: "Origins." This themed dance party celebrating tribal cultures got off to a rocky start after meeting controversy over its original name, but Neverland quickly apologized and changed the offending name.On Friday, Aug. 7, Circuit Nightclub in Boystown will be transformed to transport dancers to an ancient world by Neverland's master set and light designers, populated by sexy gogo boys in fashions inspired by ancient tribal cultures and flooded with the tribal house beats of world class DJ duo Isaac Escalante and Alain Jackisky (they headlined together at Winter Party Miami this year).On Saturday, Aug. 8, Matthew Harvat (a.k.a. Circuit MOM) presents the fifth installment of his yearly Revolution party. After the wild success of 2012's Superhero Revolution, which saw hoards of gay men dressed (and undressed) in spandex and body paint, capes and boots, flooding the River North neighborhood of Chicago, Harvat brings Market Days a taste of the darker side.The House of Blues will be transformed with an amazing set and lights to host "Rise of the Villains," with doors even opening early to accommodate the massive costumed crowd. Brazilian DJ Tiago Vibe opens for the returning Joe Gauthreaux, who Chicago knows well from past Revolutions and other massive dance parties in the Windy City. Add 40 sexy dancers, a custom lazer light show, enhanced sound system and hundreds of gay men grinding in their best villain gear and you have the makings of a legendary Saturday night.Harvat is also excited to welcome Alex Minsky, a real life hero who will keep the villains at bay in his role as host for the evening. Minsky is a veteran and model you've no doubt seen featured in magazine spreads or on the internet. During his first tour in Afghanistan in 2009 Minky's Humvee ran over a roadside bomb -- his bottom jaw was broken in four places, his arm was torn to shreds and his right leg was blown off just below the knee. After his mother was told her son wouldn't live, Minsky pulled through and following a dark period of depression and alcoholism, he started hitting the gym to keep busy and stay sober -- it was here Minsky was discovered. Now, he changes perspectives and assumptions everywhere about veterans, people with disabilities and survival.Tickets to "Rise of the Villains" are available at www.circuitmom.com.At the epicenter of everything, Boystown is sure to be raging and prime for crowd watching and boy hunting all weekend long. Almost every bar and restaurant will be opening their doors early and closing them late, ready for the gayborhood's yearly festival.Sidetrack kicks off the weekend on Friday, opening at 1 p.m. and offering a fabulous 6-9 p.n. HAPPY HOUR featuring their famous frozen cocktails for just $4. TGIF showtunes will play downstairs until 10 while party music blasts from the roof deck. Nearby, Minibar is offering a special Hawaiian edition of their brunch on Saturday and Sunday, presale tickets are available, and make sure not to miss their Market Days booth to see if they've outdone themselves again this year.Hydrate Nightclub is Getting Jurassic on Friday night and on Saturday Circuit invites festival goers to a bright and tasty candy themed dance party. Rounding out the weekend on Sunday, Berlin Nighclub presents a special bonus edition of Madommarama.If you've survived all that and the rest of the dance parties, drink specials and street festival debauchery, head over to Manhole for the first and only Monday morning party. DJ Cindel from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. for their DayBreak party. So get ready, set and go -- because Market Days only comes once a year and you won't want to miss a bit of it. There is a $10 gate donation. More information about these and other Market Days events is available on ChicagoPride.com.